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Strewth! Australian slang is 'dying out'


We all know the stereotypes about throwing another shrimp on the barbie, and greeting one another with 'how you going', but new Australian slang terms are no longer entering our vocabulary.

English language purists may argue that texts and Twitter are the biggest threat to the language, cutting down our spelling and grammar, but it seems that globalisation is also throwing a linguistic curveball, as it’s revealed that Australian slang is ‘dying out’.

A report by the editor of the Dictionary of Contemporary Slang (it’s a thing), Tony Thorne, says that after a peak in the sixties and seventies, Australian slang is now going through a “quiet phase”.

This is for a couple of reasons. The rise of American culture, particularly TV, in Australia, meaning Australian slang words are being replaced with American ones. Coupled with the fact that Australians are no longer taking 'fun' jobs abroad, such as working in bars or with children, this means a more relaxed form of the language is becoming more difficult to spread.

Thorne says "Australia has become a powerhouse in the financial and service sectors. Australians now when they go abroad, they're not barmen and backpackers. They're working in the corporate sector.

"The language of the corporate sector is business-speak, jargon and buzzwords. Australians have embraced that. 'Utilise' 'corporatise' 'maximise.' The old language is past its sell-by date."

Australian slang has entered our lexicon through TV shows. Although the popularity of Neighbours and Home & Away is still strong today, it is comedy characters such as Barry Humphrey's Dame Edna Everage and Bazza McKenzie, and Chris Lilley's Jonah and Ja'mie from Summer Heights High who have really spread the slang words.

Although the idea of no extra slang words may seem like no great loss, slang is how a language develops over time.

As well as the obvious - we all know their word for flip flops is the same as ours for tiny knickers - Australians have contributed more than it might first appear to the lexicon. 'Barbie' as a shortening of barbeque might seem apparent, but 'mozzie' instead of mosquito, and 'postie' for postman are also Australianisms.

And following on from that, the word of the moment - selfie - also hails from down under. It was first used back in 2002 on an Australian forum, as the Oxford English Dictionary reported when the word was added to its pages.

 They call these what?

It may be the permanent occupation of students on their Gap Yah, but chunder is another Australian word.

But Australian slang phrases are where the language really takes on a life of its own. The hilarious phrase budgie smuggler - referring to male swimming trunks of a similar size to the Australian word for flip flop - is just the tip of the iceberg. Here's a few we're planning to throw into conversation...

Rapt as a dunny roll - very happy

Mad as a cut snake - very angry

T0 have tickets on yourself - be arrogant (have a bet on yourself)

To have the wobbly boot on - drunk

Fifty k's south of Woop Woop - in the middle of nowhere



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